Monday, November 19, 2012

Overly ambitious

One of my biggest problems is that even though I know about any issues I have with things, I like to test them from time to time. Take my seafood allergy for instance. Every once in a while I decide that I need to make sure I still have a seafood allergy and I eat shrimp. Every time I get violently ill. You'd think I'd learn... nope.

Apparently this mix of curiosity/stubborness runs through the rest of my life too. This weekend I decided that I was going to be productive. On Saturday I actually shaved my legs, dried my hair with a hair dryer and put make-up on. No, I wasn't going anywhere fancy. I just felt like it.

Yesterday I upped the ante. I did housework. I vacuumed, stained the other side of the board for my kitchen shelf, hung a curtain rod, switched curtains out (our bedroom curtains are now in the office and look awesome!), did laundry, re-installed the toilet paper and towel bars and light switch covers in the bathroom... and probably a bunch of stuff I don't remember.

By the end of the day my left arm hurt so bad, I swear, it felt like every joint was being ripped apart. I took a hot shower, used a heat pad... didn't do anything. Even ambien wasn't enough to help me sleep through the night (I slept for maybe 4-5 hours, which is nowhere near enough for me) and I woke up this morning at 5:30 with my arm still searing from my shoulder to my finger tips.

In desperation I globbed muscle cream all over my arm and crawled back in bed feeling very annoyed with myself that now my freshly-washed sheets were going to smell like Icy Hot because I decided to do laundry in the first place.

On the bright side, it doesn't hurt nearly as much now - still sore, but less enough that I can type. I'm really hoping I can wash my hair later... that would be great.

A good thing - in all of this I started the organization process. I'm realizing that it will probably take a while before it starts to look the way I want it to, and it will require collecting jars, baskets and other little bits and bobs to make it happen, but for the most part, the room is coming together. Garry even said that he was surprised with how much he likes it.

While sorting through everything I found a lot of little projects that I'd like to do. I'm hoping I can complete one every week. Part of this process is to use up a lot of my crafting supplies because, honestly, I don't do a whole lot of crafting anymore. I'm also hoping to use some of my stock to make some fun stuff for around the house, gifts for people, you know - that sort of thing. I have two Rubbermaid bins worth of fabric that needs to be used, along with countless beads, buttons, and other fun stuff. I don't even want to get into the scrapbooking stuff I have... it's a little ridiculous...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Shelves!

I never knew how gratifying it would be to create shelves. It was a process that involved, blood, sweat and possibly some tears, but I managed to finish my shelves for the office over the weekend. By the time I was finished, I really thought that maybe I deserved a medal or a trophy or something... or that could've been the fumes from the stain...

I had to stain the other two boards and then coat them with a finishing wax. Now, I've never used finishing wax before. It was more of an experiment than anything else to see if I liked the product, I knew I could strip off the finish and use regular polyurethane if needed.

Our sunroom made for a great workroom because I didn't care if the floors/walls ended up with stain on them and the majority of the room is made up of windows - so it provided good ventilation. We also have a little electric fireplace in the room so I didn't get too cold. Then again, the weather over the weekend was perfect, so I only needed to use it the one day.

I'm still up in the air over the wax. While it has a nice finish that's not super shiny, it was kind of a pain to work with, especially since I was working with wood that wasn't perfectly smooth. I think next time (unless I have perfectly smooth wood) I'll use a satin polyurethane as it's easy to apply.

However, the wax hardens in half an hour which made the finishing process a lot faster than I anticipated.

One shelf down... two more to go.


I wanted there to be a larger space on the bottom-most shelf, but I can always change the amount of space between if I feel like it. I think it will look awesome once I get everything on there. This week we have a few smallish projects to tackle - including filing all of our paperwork in our very large cabinet - so it might be a while before I get it "styled" how I would like.

Primitive and Proper
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Adorned From Above

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I like the color that I picked to spray the desks. Hm, I may end up having to re-think that.

I ended up loving these shelves so much that I bought a few brackets and a board to install in the kitchen. That board needs one more coat of stain on the one side and a coat of wax - I should be able to have it finished by tomorrow night. Finally a place to put all of my cookbooks!

We still have one 6 ft. board left that we're not exactly sure what to do with. We may end up cutting a piece off and using it in the bathroom as a display shelf (our bathroom needs some serious lovin') or something like that. Since we're miles away from any projects in there it might be a while before we make a solid decision on that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Office prettification! Step... I don't remember...

It's kind of sad that I don't even remember which step of this process I'm on. As my husband would say "it's the next one."

This weekend we started the shelving project for our office. It was a little more expensive than we thought, mostly because we ended up buying a few extra items at Home Depot instead of just what we needed for the project. I also bought more stain/wax than we really needed because knowing me, I'm going to want more of these shelves. 

As I posted in my last entry, Garry pulled up and threw out all the carpet in the sunroom. Even though it helped keep the room a LOT warmer, this is probably a good idea since we can use that room as a "winter work room" since we have a small electric fireplace out there to help us stay warm while we're working out there. 

Because the carpet came up - just about everything had to come back into the office. 

Side note: I'm thinking of hanging our three violins on the other side of the filing cabinet. It would be really nice to get them off the floor. I also pulled the blinds down yesterday because... well... I hate plastic blinds with every fiber of my soul.

Yeah, kind of a mess... and very bare... which makes me sad. :(

But - this wall will change everything!

It's so bare, and so blank that something gorgeous just BEGS to be there - that something is my wall-o-shelves.

We started by hanging the track shelving, which isn't that terribly difficult. Just measure and screw the tracks to the wall. But, make sure you measure very carefully before you start drilling - otherwise you end up with a million holes you have to putty. 

Luckily we didn't have a problem with that. :)

These shelves will be 6 feet long (I wanted something really substantial for this room) and the wood we bought was just pine 2x12. The boards were 12ft long so we had the folks at Home Depot cut them in half so we could fit them in my car (and they barely fit). I decided I only wanted three shelves afterall, so we have an extra board that I can use somewhere else in the house (probably the bathroom).  

Once the tracks were up I sanded the cut edges of the wood. My dad would be shaking his head at me now, but no, I didn't sand the whole thing. I want the wood to look a little "beat to hell" as he would put it. That's kind of the point. 

See, our sunroom makes a great work room - if only I had some saw horses... 

I decided to go with Minwax Special Walnut for color. I knew I wanted a "weathered-looking" walnut color, and let's be honest here, Minwax was the cheapest stain at Home Depot for that size. I've also used Mixwax before with good results. I also bought just a cheap $1 brush since I didn't want to use my good paint brushes and I just needed "something" to apply the paint with. 

This is after the first coat. All I did was brush the stain on with the grain and wipe with a cotton rag. Really simple. I'm going to do a second coat tonight. 

This is really a lovely color. I'm hoping the extra coat will take some of the red out of the wood that is in some spots, but if not, that's okay too. 

This process will probably take me all week to do since I don't get home from work until about 6 pm every night and I told Garry that I really wanted to do this part myself. I think two coats of stain on each board will be good, then a good coat of wax buffed on (I've never used wax before so this will be interesting) and hopefully by the weekend I'll be able to assemble everything on the shelves and start the organization process. (Meaning, I'll be on the hunt for containers for all my odds and ends). 

Hmm... maybe I can cut and stain that other board too, pick up some metal brackets, and hang those in the bathroom this weekend too... 

Maybe I should be saying "Stain all the things!" instead. :)

Here's the breakdown so far:
  • Paint file cabinet: $12
  • Paint my desk: $12
  • Paint computer desk: $12
  • Install cork/white erase board: $15
  • Create/find items to use to corral small desk objects: free  
  • Make barnwood shelving on metal tracks (above my desk): $150 (for materials) 
  • Buy/build a bookcase: $50
  • Make/find artwork: $50 (allowance for new frames/printing costs) 
  • Make curtain panel: free 
  • Add other furnishings (office chairs, rug, lamps, change out light fixture) 

All said: $300 (before the furnishings) 
So let's say $500 total (after furnishings). Okay, so my estimate was a little off - not by much though, and that depends on what we end up doing for the rest of the room. It's coming together though - and that's the important thing. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Now back from our weather delay...

I have to say, we were incredibly fortunate to not be bludgeoned by Hurricane Sandy at the beginning of the week. My heart goes out to the folks downstate, in New Jersey and other areas that were severely damanged. Last year we dealt with Hurricane Lee (just days after our wedding!) and our area was devestated - many folks are still recovering on a lot of different levels.

It makes my stomach drop just thinking about it.

Since our house also managed to come away unscathed (I was really worried about our roof), I can go back to Operation: Paint All the Things and Garry can go back to shaking his head at me.

This weekend I'm hoping to get my table spray painted. While we have it dismantled and in the garage, we're also planning on buying and installing the tracks for the wall-o-shelves that will go above my table. It will look like this (but in my office):

Photo from Our Vintage Home Love

Now just imagine a 6ft long version of those shelves. I'm getting excited just thinking about it! 

Since the availalbility of the gorgeous solid walnut is not going to happen, we're going to buy some pine boards, rough em' up a bit, sand down the edges, and stain them the antique walnut color and give them a nice waxed finish. They will look lovely... 

Okay, let's be honest - I really want these shelves in just about every room in my house. That's how much I love them. I'd love (lovelovelovelove) them in my kitchen (which I already have plans for on our weird, long wall), and in my bathroom in the weird little alcove. 

I also need to find some sort of rug and make my curtain. The room "echos" still, which is really annoying. I think once I get those shelves up, get the "bits and pieces" up, and find (or build) a decent-sized bookshelf, it will echo a lot less.